Calgary, Alberta Lightning Display

April 03, 2013

Calgary, Alberta Lightning Display 2

Photographer: Larry McNish; Royal Astronomy Society of Canada
Summary Author: Larry McNish

On the evening of August 8, 2008, I was planning to take a time-lapse sequence of the night sky above Calgary, Alberta, but an approaching thunderstorm made me give up that idea. However, not wanting to waste the night, I decided to capture the storm's vivid lightning. So, I set up a tripod a few miles from the downtown area on a hill overlooking southwest Calgary and took 200 automated photos, at time exposures of 30 seconds. Nearly all of this lightning was cloud-to-ground lightning. Note that any given lightning flash consists of several abrupt discharges, each lasting only about a millisecond.

By the way, it's definitely not recommended to stand outside on a hill with a metal tripod and electronic camera gear during a lightning storm -- even a distant one. I stayed in my vehicle while the camera took the shots.

Photo details: Canon XSi DSLR camera; Canon 18-55 mm zoom lens; set manually at ISO 100; 29 mm; f/5; 30 second exposure. I started taking photos at approximately 10:30 p.m.